User Guide welcome

Welcome to the NCAR Graphics Version 4.1 User Guide. The NCAR Graphics functionality and methods of use have changed dramatically since the last major release (Version 3.2) of the software. For NCAR Graphics Version 4.0/4.1, the user documentation is published as a hypertext information system. This system provides faster, easier, and more widely available access to the documentation than printed manuals. Also, document updates will be done online so you can always access the most up-to-date version of the documentation available. If you start using the roadmaps, index, and tables of contents, you will get the most out of this hypertext information system. In all User Guide modules, the Roadmap and Contents navigation tools show User Guide contents only.

Along with the traditional Fortran and C low level interfaces (LLUs), NCAR Graphics 4.1 software has expanded to include a high-level object-oriented interface (High Level Utilities or HLUs) that is also callable from Fortran and C, and a command language interface (the NCAR Command Language or NCL)

With version 4.1 of NCAR Graphics, we are pleased to introduce a new document to help you get started using NCL, called Getting started using NCL. It is intended for both beginning and advanced users of NCL.

With version 4.1 of NCAR Graphics, we are also pleased to introduce the new Ngmath package. The Ngmath library is a collection of interpolators for one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional data for which there are equivalent Fortran, C, and NCL entries.

If you are seeking information about using the traditional interface (Fortran and C LLUs), you should start with the NCAR Graphics Fundamentals document and the NCAR Graphics Contouring and Mapping Tutorial document. Another useful LLU document explains NCAR Graphics' implementation of the Graphical Kernel System standard: User's Guide for NCAR GKS-0A Graphics. These documents were created for print and have been converted to hypertext format; you can browse the online versions by clicking on the preceding titles (note that they will not transfer across the network as efficiently as the documents that have been created for hypertext). You can also print the documents from the PostScript files:

How to get started

If you are a new NCAR Graphics user, or if you want to learn how to use the HLUs or NCL, we recommend starting with the Quick Start Guide and this User Guide.

If you are looking for examples of how to create certain types of plots, then we recommend that you use the Quick Start Guide for an overview of the various plot types and examples that are included with the NCAR Graphics software. You can also access the Quick Start Guide by clicking on the "Examples" button at the beginning and end of any module.

The User Guide (this document) provides a system overview of the software architecture, the interfaces, their functionality and features, how to set up your work environment, how to build and compile an application, and how to use the HLUs and the NCL. It also explains the key concepts underlying the NCAR Graphics 4.1 software and helps you understand how to use it.

Document organization

This User Guide is organized into three main sections that describe each of the methods for using the NCAR Graphics software: the High Level Utilities (HLUs), the NCAR Command Language (NCL), and the traditional Low Level Utilities (LLUs).

The modules in each section are typically short and concise because they each offer a general overview of just a few concepts. Much greater detail is provided in the NCAR Graphics Version 4.1 Reference Manual. (Please note that the LLU sections were designed for print and are less effective in the hypertext medium.)

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$Revision: 1.11 $ $Date: 1998/09/08 19:33:35 $